France is to regulate derivatives products linked to cryptocurrencies, in another sign of the increasing regulatory scrutiny faced by firms offering platforms to trade bitcoin and other major cryptos.
The French financial regulator, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), said on Thursday that it deemed crypto-derivatives products as falling under Europe’s Mifid II financial regulation.
It means online trading platforms in France using such products will have to conduct their business in line with Mifid rules.
The nation´s financial regulator said this meant that the advertising of crypto-derivatives was no longer allowed in France.
“The AMF concludes that a cash-settled cryptocurrency contract may qualify as a derivative, irrespective of the legal qualification of a cryptocurrency. Platforms which offer these products must abide by the authorisation and business conduct rules. They must not be advertised via electronic means,” said the AMF.
European regulators´ view of cryptos in general appears to have hardened so far this year.
The European Securities and Markets Authority, which coordinates rules across the EU, revealed in January that it was considering a ban on the marketing, distribution and sale of crypto-derivatives across the EU.
This could include CFDs, currently a popular means for investors to take short or long positions on the likes of bitcoin, ethereum, ripple and litecoin.
While bitcoin has staged something of a recovery rally thus far in February, the sharp falls in crypto values seen in January amid panic selling have likely encouraged European regulators to lean towards a tougher stance.
On Thursday, UK lawmakers also launched an inquiry into cryptocurrencies to consider how they should be regulated.
Bitcoin however was fairly stable on Thursday, trading just 1.7% lower on the session as at 11:20 GMT.